A garden filled with useful plants and herbs is a more practical use of planting space compared to a purely ornamental garden. Herbs and a lot of plants have practical and medicinal uses that can help with our health and well-being.
If you want to grow a herb that is not typically known by a lot of people, you can grow stevia. This herb, also known as stevia rebaudiana, is a perennial that is common in Brazil and Paraguay. Stevia cannot be left dry for too long but it also cannot be left in standing water or else it will rot. You can successfully grow stevia in your garden if you just follow these simple tips.
- Make sure that you plan stevia on a raised bed to help keep it dry.
- Use sandy loam or loam as your soil. This is what stevia prefers the most.
- Make sure that you get enough space between your stevia plants. 10 to 12 inches apart in the row with two rows in one bed is the best ratio. You can use this pattern for both seeds or actual plants.
- Treat stevia like a vegetable. Always make sure that it is has adequate moisture. Irrigate every week when there is no rain to water the plants.
- Mulch the bed with organics like grass clippings, leaves, straw or compost. Mulch up to 6 inches deep if need be.
- Be warned that stevia stems are very prone to breakage so protect them when there are high winds. Make sure that the area where you plant your stevia is protected from the elements. You can corral the plants with strings tied to stakes, if you want.
You can use fresh stevia leaves right off the plant. You can mix it with some mint leaves – they are a great combination. You can harvest the leaves right before the plants start to flower. You can dry the leaves by hanging it in a dry and warm area with plenty of circulation.